Recently someone I care about told me of difficulties with a roommate. Since I’ve had my share of difficult relationships, I sent her some of what I’ve learned along the way. Here is an edited version of the email I sent:
Dear Martha, (name changed)
In my quiet time this morning I read Psalm 62. These verses seem to apply to your situation. I’ve had similar relationship issues–where the person did not seem to respond to anything I said.
Looking back I see how God used those times to teach me how to have a godly response, which is so hard. Difficult relationships prepared me to work with the mentally ill, which I’ve done for the past 8-1/2 years. Perhaps God is using this time to prepare you for a future work or ministry.
As a friend of mine told me one day: “God never wastes our pain.” How true I’ve found that to be.
People who ignore us have emotional issues. God has taught me it’s not my job to deliver them from these or even to get them to respond to me. My first task is to bring the problem to Him.
Until we reach the point where we see the problem as God’s–not ours–we are still trying to handle the problem on our own, which fails every time.
Here are some verses that may encourage you:
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1 NIV
Martha, your soul is not at rest. Could it be because you’ve said you cannot have rest until another person changes? Oh, how often I’ve been in that place.
Psalm 62:5 shows David pleading to his own soul:
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.
Then he reminds himself
my hope comes from him.
Do not put your hope in someone else changing. Put your hope in God. Peace will come.
You cannot change what other people are doing, but you can change your response. You can ask God each time anger wells up: “How am I to respond to this?” So often with me it seems He says, “Say nothing. Do nothing. I will take care of that.” He also tells me loving things to do toward that person–the very one who is irritating me so much.
I really don’t want to discuss what other people are doing to you. I want to know what God is doing in you–how he is using this difficult time to refine you like gold. You are going to come out so beautiful on the other side–if you submit to the refining process.
Here’s the link to one of my favorite songs that speaks of that:
“Refiner’s Fire” by Brian Doerksen
I want you to know I care about you. God is going to bring much good out of all of this.
He already has.
Take care and God bless.
What about you? Do you have difficult people in your life? How do you respond to them? With anger, bitterness, irritability? Or do you ask God to help you have a loving response? This doesn’t mean you let them walk all over you. It means maintaining love despite their unloving ways. We can only do that with God’s power and guidance.